Posted by: 4pack | June 3, 2009

“Ideal Fitness”: Texas Teacher, 41, Competes And Wins In Navy SEAL Fitness Challenge

navysealsIn what was certainly one of the more strenuous measures of one’s toughness, a special education teacher from The Colony High School proved among the toughest. Chuck Olinger, 41, won a coveted blue shirt and two first-place medals, as well as a chance to apply to become an actual Navy SEAL, despite being 13 years too old to join the team.

“There were some Navy commanders there on a speaking circuit as part of the event. They said they would give me an age waiver,” Olinger said. But he politely declined, choosing not to rile his family.

The competition consisted of a 500-yard swim, 2-minute push-up test, 2-minute sit-up test, as many pull-ups as one can do, and a one-and-a-half mile run. To complete the events in SEAL time would require meeting the following standards: the swim completed in 12 1/2 minutes, 42 pushups in 2 minutes, 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes, six pull ups with no time limit, and a one-and-a-half mile run in under 11 minutes.

Olinger’s swim time was 8:00. He performed 95 pushups, 81 sit-ups, 15 pull-ups, and ran 1.5 miles in 8:41.

His real passion is triathlon, which naturally helped him prepare for the SEAL challenge. Olinger takes part in the Xterra triathlon circuit with an eye toward qualifying for the world championships in Hawaii in October.

In addition to his recent success at the SEAL event, Olinger finished first in the Oklahoma Xterra off-road triathlon on April 25, and won first place in the Louisiana Xterra off-road triathlon on May 2, just one week before the fitness challenge. He is among the top 15 in points in the South Central region of the circuit.

So, to Olinger, the SEAL challenge was just another test of his skills.

“The kids really pushed me. I was mostly competing against 20-somethings. I’m pretty confident in my abilities and it carried over into the Navy SEAL challenge,” he said. “I took it all in stride, and looked at it as a workout leading up to my triathlon. At my age I’m still hanging in there. I recover pretty fast, maintain pretty good shape. It’s a lifestyle. I’m used to racing from one weekend to the next.”

There was a time in his life when he would have jumped at the chance to become a Navy SEAL. Olinger, a resident of Highland Village, grew up in The Colony and graduated from Lewisville High School in 1986. After college, he wanted to join the SEALs but he had bad eyesight. Instead, he became an Army Ranger. He saw combat in Panama in the late 1980s, working alongside other special-operations units like the SEALs and Green Berets.

Olinger has spent the last 13 years at The Colony High School, teaching classes with students that often wear down lesser teachers. His physical presence helps, as well as the stress release of athletic competition.

“I try to be a good role model for them. I really enjoy it,” he said. “If it wasn’t for doing the triathlons, I’m not sure if I could last as long.”

As for the competition in Keller, “it’s great to come out and show a face to the community,” said Tucker Bell, Special War Combat-craft Crewman (SWCC). “Not many people know a Navy SEAL or SWCC.”

The event gave people the chance to put a face with the Navy elite that they have always heard about. Two of the elite, Bell and Ken Greaves, are from the Dallas area and took this opportunity to come home and tell people about what they do.

“This is a chance to pull back the curtain and let people meet us,” said Jason Torey, chief of Special Warfare Operations.

Not only were the SEALs seeking to introduce themselves, but they also wanted to introduce fitness. The challenge consisted of five physical fitness arenas, and are very similar to the initial test someone must take to be considered for a SEAL.

The Seals started the event in November 2007 and have since traveled across the country with the event. They want the event not only to attract competitive people that want to test their skills, but also families. The U.S. Navy Parachute team, the Leap Frogs, will be on hand doing live demonstrations at 9 a.m. Saturday and noon at the event site.


  1. I guess some of us older guys still have it. Congrats. I am 49 and pass everyone on the bike path. While I aced the Marine Corps PT Test back in the day, 20 Pullups, 80 situps in 2 min and run 3 miles in 18 min, dont think I could do that today

  2. Nice job! I am 47 and a former Marine. I am currently on week 4 of a 12 week SEAL prep program that is used at the Naval Academy for officers preparing for BUD/S. Just doing it to see where I measure up and for conditioning. When the Challenge returns to Florida, I am going to do it.

    • So how’d it go on your navy seal challenge? Did you make it?

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